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Published July 29, 2010, 06:35 PM

Signs of Drowning Not Always Obvious

Wednesday a young boy nearly drowned at a pool in Casselton. Ben Metzger had wandered into the deep end of the pool, but a lifeguard saw him and saved him.

By: Brady Mallory, WDAZ

Wednesday a young boy nearly drowned at a pool in Casselton. Ben Metzger had wandered into the deep end of the pool, but a lifeguard saw him and saved him.

Lifeguards say drowning accidents can just as easily happen in shallow water like baby pools, and spotting someone drowning isn't as obvious as you'd think.

"It only takes a split second for something bad to happen," said Joshua McSparran, who was taking his kids for a swim at Riverside Pool.

It also only takes a split second to react. So would you know if you saw someone drowning?

""The ones that are bobbing up and down in the water...splashing their arms," said McSparran.

His answer is the first thing we think of when thinking about a drowning victim.

" Splashing around, calling for help, obviously in the deep end..they look like they're struggling. It would be obvious," said Erin Joki, who was swimming.

A lot of people will guess it is easy to spot a swimmer in distress, but the lifeguards at Riverside say there is often more to it.

"Once they're actively drowning they might not be able to lift their heads out of the water," said Riverside and Elks Pools Manager Jason Rolland.

Many times the person will not be yelling for help and will have their mouths closed thinking they're saving air. You may not see them struggling if they are underwater.

" They might be past that stage. They might not be able call for help or wave their arms. You might only have 20 to 60 seconds before you're under water unconscious," said Rolland.

He said the lifeguards have training sessions every few weeks to them brush up on their skills and stay alert.

"We're constantly scanning the water, not just the surface. The middle and the bottom of the pool."

McSparran agreed staying alert is a good way to prevent accidents.

" I try to stay close to my kids..keep an eye on them. I don't read a book or anything. I usually go in and play with them."

If you are not sure if someone needs help, Rolland has a good phrase to keep in mind.

" When in doubt, jump out."

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